Villa de Leyva
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About Villa de Leyva
Villa de Leyva has become a bit of a byword for perfectly preserved colonial towns: a labyrinthine maze of dusty cobbled lanes, gigantic central plazas and 500-year-old buildings, it could be said that the town is stuck in a time lapse. Perched in a picturesque and charming valley setting, it is flanked by great mountains on either side, and bustles with life, be it the local artisans or the tourists visiting the numerous festivals that happen every year. Not merely steeped in colonial history, it is rich in the pre-Colombian past of the ancient civilisation that preceeded it, and our collection of the best places to stay in Villa de Leyva will allow you to bask in the glory of her history.
Before the arrival of the colonists, the valley and lands surrounding it were inhabited by the Muisca - one of the great pre-Colombian civilisations of South America, including the Aztecs and Incas. Remnants of their culture can still be seen to this day on the outskirts of town, be it in the form of standing stones, burial mounds or their sacred Lake Iguaque, which lies in the Iguaque National Park. The region itself is wonderful for hiking and the dark green hills provide excellent panoramic views of the landscape, and are host to many endangered species of plant and animal.
The town itself is filled with old buildings like 16th century churches and the central Plaza Mayor, one of the largest plazas in Colombia, and has a monument to the famous independence fighter, Antonio Ricaurte. The annual festivals are a big highlight for many Colombian tourists, be it the Food festival in November, the Jazz festival in July or the Kite festival in August and the Festival of Lights in December.
What Not to miss
- El Infiernito: a collection of standing stones and burial mounds, the unearthed remnants of the Muisca. The stones are lined North-to-South and are believed to represent the stages of the Muisca calendar.
- Centro de Investigaciones Paleontologicas: a simple yet significant museum that unearths the history of some of Colombia’s more ancient residents. Great for dinosaur enthusiasts!
- Marques de Vila de Leyva: ever tried Colombian wine? Either way this local vineyard is a must visit. Beautiful surroundings, good food platters and of course, great wine!
- Casa Terracota: visit this fully functional, fully clay house! An entirely unique experience. It should be noted that although the attraction is well reviewed, some visitors think the entry price is a bit steep…
- Iguaque National Park: around 5 miles away, it is host to many endangered and unique species of flora and fauna, has some great hiking spots in the mountains, and Lake Iguaque - a sacred site for the Muisca peoples - lies there.
Villa de Leyva is picturesque and aglow in its rich and deep history, from the Muiscas to their colonial conquerers: with hills great for hiking, a region full of culture and a town that's a sight in itself, the best places to stay in Villa de Leyva will let you bask in the splendour of its past while soaking in the comforts of its present.
The best places to stay in Villa de Leyva
For a central location
Hotel Casa Terra has spacious rooms, traditional architecture and a great breakfast! A reasonably priced and relaxed hideaway.
For an apartment or villa
- Our partner Booking.com has a wide range of self catering villas and apartments.
- The rainfall occurs mostly in winter with very little during the summer months, and the temperature remains fairly consistent throughout the year - the hottest being in March, when it is roughly 17 degrees - and the coldest being in July, when it is 16 degrees.
- Fly to either Bogota Airport or Medellin and take a bus to Tanja, from where you can take a van to Villa de Leyva. It is a long journey, so be warned!
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Best Hotels in Villa de Leyva
Hotel Casa Terra 8 rooms from £65Villa de Leyva
Hotel Casa Terra is located in the historic colonial town of Villa de Leyva. It features spacious rooms decorated in a traditional manner and a fabulous breakfast is served each morning. Relax in the garden with a book or take a leisurely stroll around town. An utterly charming and no-frills stay!Sights nearby - Check out the Museo del Carmen which is situated in an old monastery and features a range of paintings and religious objectsLocal markets - Go visit the bustling farmer's market every Saturday morning in the centre of townGreat walks - Hike around the absolutely stunning Iguaque National Park which is 5 miles awayFull of character
Posada de San Antonio 26 rooms from £57Villa de Leyva
This hotel is housed across three beautifully restored colonial properties in Villa de Leyva. The individually styled rooms are warm and inviting, featuring vintage furnishings and local textiles. Book a suite for a living room with an original, wood-burning fire. Don't miss the spa; a unique hotel.Foodies - Foodies will love the hotel restaurant's fresh, seasonal menu, offering both local and international dishesLocal exploring - Located in the centre of Villa de Leyva, this hotel makes a great base for local exploringRomantic Break - Couples love the heritage property's original features and the romantic interior patioGreat walks - Plan a day out of great walks in the Iguaque National Park and discover the region's natural beauty
Hotel Masclara 4 rooms from £91Villa de Leyva
This charming hotel is located in Villa de Leyva, Colombia. Rooms are bright and spacious with homely soft furnishings and views over the countryside; the best suite has a pretty private terrace. Enjoy a night under the stars with a bonfire in the hotel grounds. A picturesque escape to the country.Active Holiday - Surrounded by beautiful natural landscape perfect for long walks, this hotel makes a great base for an active holidayFamilies - Boasting a large garden with a bonfire and BBQ area, this hotel is great for parents travelling with childrenCountry Escape - Located on quiet country road just outside of the town, this hotel makes a great escape to the countryGreat walks - Plan a day of great walks in the beautiful Iguaque National Park, a short distance from the hotel